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The Earl of Zerces: chapter 9
Crash!!! It was as though giant shards of glass were falling from the sky as Lang destroyed the barrier. Lang briefly marveled at the beauty of the once-invisible barrier, now reduced to a million pieces, but then immediately remembered what he came here to do.
“Elena!” Lang cried, brandishing the sword as he ran towards the monster that was consuming the life of his new-found love. The monster looked up in surprise as it saw Lang sprinting towards it, and it released Elena to focus on this new foe. As Elena fell to the ground, it seemed already that life was returning to her, as she heaved great gasps of breath and regained some of the color in her cheeks. Lang silently cheered for this, and then squared off against the demon.
The two opponents faced each other, each waiting for the other to move first. No noise adulterated this scene, as the foes stood there, sizing each other up. Minutes passed, and sweat began to form on Lang’s brow. There would be a moment, just a moment, for Lang to react when the beast finally attacked. If Lang did not seize that moment, he would be dead. Lang kept calm though, and stood firm, when suddenly-
“Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate?” A strangely feminine voice pierced the tension. “Lang! Lang! Ganbatte!”
Lang chanced a look at where the voice was coming from to see the Earl of Zerces standing there holding two roundish, frilly objects as he did a strange dance. The Earl winked at Lang and Lang suddenly felt a chill run up his spine.
That was when Lang felt the full force of the brunt of a tentacle slam him in the chest.
Lang let out a brief sound and then catapulted across the fields, landing flat on his back. Lang groaned in pain, but still managed to slowly stand up and scream at the Earl.
“You crazy fop!!!” Lang screeched. “You could have killed me!”
The Earl merely batted his eyelashes innocently and pointed towards the monster that was now charging at Lang again. Lang gave out a groan of frustration and readied his sword. The Earl hadn’t ruined everything after all. Lang still had another chance. He just had to strike-
“Now,” a soft voice whispered in his ear. Lang instinctively swung his sword, and a wave of light erupted from it, to slash the demon in two, leaving nothing but mist. Lang was awe-struck. Then he realized. That voice, it had sounded familiar. Was it Elena?
“Elena!” Another familiar voice called out to the fields. But this voice was much less welcome. Elena’s mother and several of the townsfolk ran out into the clearing. Lang limped over to where Elena was as well.
“You!” Elena’s mother shrieked as she saw the dirty and beaten Lang. “You did this to my daughter! Seize him!” She motioned for the townsfolk to obey her.
“Sorry, old bat,” Lang grinned triumphantly as he propped Elena up and took her into his arms. “But I’m not going to stand around listening to you.”
“How dare you!?!” Elena’s mother screamed. “Release my daughter! Do you wish to impurify her body!?!”
“Shut up!” Lang cried out, and Elena’s mother was taken aback. “You never cared at all about what your daughter felt. You just used her like a tool to get fame and fortune. Meanwhile, Elena was suffering because you’d never give her the one thing that she wanted: human contact. All she wanted was to be hugged, to be kissed, to be patted on the head. And you wouldn’t even do that! You only cared about her Purifier status!”
Elena slowly started to stir in Lang’s arms, and Lang felt newfound courage rise up in him, making him press on. “Well I’ve got news for you woman. Elena is leaving you now. She’s going to come to my kingdom, and we’re never going to hear of you again! Isn’t that right, Elena?” he turned to the now-awake young woman.
Elena paused, and then blinked for a moment, and then, slowly, quietly, she looked up into Lang’s eyes, and asked with a quizzical look. “Um, I’m sorry. Who are you?”